FLOSS Episode 2 with Ben Goodger

Excellent podcast by Leo Laporte. Here are my notes for episode 2. I listened to episode 1.
Extensions that:

  • Make textboxes bigger
  • Homestarrunner full-screen extension (Ben Goodger). I haven’t seen Home Star Runner for some time!
  • Flashblock (click to make Flash animation start)
  • Del.icio.us extension.
  • Prefetching

Tab browsing becoming the norm. Making it more natural and make it happen automatically. User interface testing.

Work for Google. Summer of Code is being launched to mentor organizations. I want to apply for this, as a student. They’re going to put links in the shownotes. Financially profitable despite not charging for the product.

Ad-sharing deals. Doing a release now is a lot more complicated because they have a lot more visibility.

Pet peeve. “Boy, they must have a lot of time on their hands.” Not true for open source (free). Computer business all came from people doing this stuff for fun. Not cave people anymore. “What’s the point of civilization if we can’t work on intellectually interesting problems?” “Firefox was a huge waste of time… until it wasn’t!”

Don’t want to scramble around trying to find ways to make money. Podcasting. Leo Laporte spends most of his time doing free programming. “You do it for fun. In the long run, you get benefits. Certainly users get benefits.”

Gecko: cross-platform rendering engine. Used in other projects, too. Songbird MP3 player. Gecko is the entire Firefox window. Everything inside the window is done by Gecko. Not just HTML, but other languages: SVG, etc. Very capable. Win, Mac, Linux, BeOS, OS/2, VMS, 360.

Localization is cross-platform. Translating software into your language can be done on Linux.

As long as there’s demand, someone’s going to develop it. “We’re the people.” Thunderbird 2 coming out Fall 2006. Firefox & Thunderbird? Built on XUL. An example of how good open source software can be. This proves the idea that “open source isn’t great” is false. It is the best email client available. Yep, I use Thunderbird. I downloaded a backup of my Gmail via the provided POP interface, over 1 GB of email.

Firefox team. 20 on the browser front-end. At other levels, 50-60 additional, maybe 100 on Gecko. Plus, testers and bug filers. Then extensions. Hundreds and thousands.

You don’t need to be a super-programmer to join the team. You can file bugs. You can access the code as a web developer. (That’s me!) You don’t have to be hard-core C/C++ developer. Awesome, that sounds like me. New/old, helping to make the end result as good as it can be.

Ben is working on bookmarking history system, drag-and-drop. People don’t respond well to losing their bookmarks. Cleared away all the cruft and clutter in your life :) lol. 2.0 list: make RSS preview work better. Built-in RSS support.

Content types on the web are utterly broken and ignored by browsers. Browsers have to detect RSS and such, and producers rarely pass the right content-types. Will microformats solve this? (Ian) Universal formats. RSS works well despite fighting. Implement everything in RSS. Calendar. To-do list. All as RSS feeds. Bookmark RSS feeds.
Easier to search and add bookmarks. Too many bookmarks. People don’t use them because they don’t know how easy it is to add them. Just like sticky flag or dog-ear in books. Easy to find that page later. Shouldn’t be forced to do a lot of organization. People don’t organize things in their lives very much. I’m not organized. “Everyone cleans their bathroom every week.” Using the toolbar. Novice users don’t use the bookmarks toolbar, because IE doesn’t have it; it’s hidden by default.

“No browser right now does a good job with bookmarks.” Incremental improvements. “Is it a stretch to think about how novices use the program?” Even advanced users who aren’t the ones who have built the software. What people notice and what they don’t notice.

I want a better “Find” function in Firefox. Smart keyword functionality. I’ve been using this feature for a long time. Who showed it to me? Leo was blown away. I’m blown away. Was it Sam? “V is for Vandetta” “Open Source movie reviews!” Understands how HTML works: forms, search engines. Recreates that submission through the location bar, with your terms as the input. Leo’s blog. I knew about this, but most people don’t.

Need to expose features without annoying people. UI design is very satisfying when it’s done right. Audacity vs Windows Media Player. Asking for it by using MS Windows, lol. Links in the shownotes. I’ll have to check those out.

Interweb. Neil Stevenson.

What have I been working on? InvisionI.com, a new forum hosting service. Hmm, I wish WordPress would save my posts while I’m writing them, like Gmail. That would give me much better peace-of-mind.
When I’m pressed more, I help more. If people ask me again and again or are more persistent, unfortunately, I give in. Good or bad? I don’t know!

Pengui-con in Michigan. I am hooked on FLOSS! Free/libre open source source software.

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